Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Time for Women... and My Mom's a Shining Example

Though I am, as a rule, a-political by choice (that doesn't mean I'm wishy-washy) - that is, I claim no membership in either of the major or minor parties and don't call myself an "Independent," which seems to be the label of choice for those who don't quite want to commit (much like the term 'agnostic,' which, to me, is total wishy-washy-ness)... I was excited for the first time in this presidential race by McCain's VP pick today: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

I've always thought it would be a great idea to elect a housewife to run this country because most housewives are so skilled at multitasking and brilliant at taking charge of many difficult situations all at once while always landing on their feet... and the fact that women are able to use both sides of their brain... well, I think we're long overdue in America for a woman president.

Pro-choice/anti-abortion notwithstanding (we'll never agree on that which should not be a political issue in the first place), I like Gov. Palin because she's the epitome of America's dreamgirl! She's strong, fought her way up the ladder to become Mayor, then Governor, gave birth five times and still has a waistline! And a neck!! She's 44 and gorgeous, outspoken, successful and articulate. She reminds me of my mother.

I argue with my mother all the time and, hearing the frustration in her voice, always remind her that I learned to be driven, articulate and outspoken from her... and that's not to say, "Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto..." She didn't teach me to be a bitch; she taught me to fight to survive in a man's world and not to make excuses for my own failures but, rather, to accept self-responsibility above all else!

However, our recent disagreement had to do with a statement she made about Blacks in America (she knows I HATE rash generalizations!) - that Black people have been treated like sh-- for a long time - to which I replied something like, 'That may be... but I don't think any Black person with dignity wants to wallow in self pity and just crawl up in a shack and become a dependent of the State.'

I reminded her that she herself was treated like sh-- many a time and that all odds had been against her from the very start having sprung from worse than humble origins - a shack in Tennessee with a mother who'd given birth to 10 kids and died at 42 from exhaustion; a father who was mentally ill and shot himself in front of her... to having been left in the [mis-]care of orphanages and foster homes - a lost girl in America.

Yet, through it all - having seven kids, raising most of us (with almost no help at all from our fathers), being a wildly successful woman who owned two employment agencies in Chicago in the '60s and '70s, gorgeous, ambitious and driven - she made it ALL ON HER OWN. Never once do I remember my mother even hinting at the thought of going on welfare (she just ran out and got another job), or applying for food stamps or any other government assistance. And my mother never did drugs, smoked, or drank her problems away. She suffered in silence and kept on going. She taught me the most valuable lesson in life - that you're only as weak as you convince yourself you are.

She just chuckled and agreed: 'That's true, but not many people have it in them to go through all that and survive.' After having left the corporate world in the late '70s, she embarked on a spiritual journey that led her to study all aspects of the spiritual world - philosophy, religions of the Far East, yoga, meditation - and is now one of the greatest mediums and teachers of meditation the world has ever known. She's got an enviable library, having read hundreds of books; she's a great artist, gardener and grandmother of... well... we lost count... Now each of the flowers in her garden become paintings and in those paintings are her children and grandchildren and the colors from the prism are new and those she has expanded upon beyond anything words could ever describe.

She's my hero.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celeb-Reality Check

Showbiz Tonight has done it again! They're experts at one thing: lowering the standards of America. They consistently report on made-up scenarios designed to suggest ideas as truths that are not only false, but twisted and almost perverted. They rarely focus on actual news and facts; instead of entertaining us with celebrity news, they fill their hollow hour by interviewing publicist speculators who offer their opinions and hypotheticals - rarely offering any substantive reality. It's no wonder lawyers are getting rich and the actual celebrities they're talking about are fed up!

Tonight they hit rock bottom suggesting that three celebrities - Oprah, Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton - actually may influence the presidential race! I was appalled listening to a puppet/talking head from The Britto Agency trying to convince the ST audience that Oprah is a "global voice" with massive influence; and that Paris Hilton is well versed! We all know who these celebrities are and any sensible person knows that these people are the LAST ones to go to for advice on anything relative to practical existence in America.

All I can say is that people of all races, creeds, colors and religions need to band together from this day forward and vow to curb their television viewing, shut out this kind of influence and brainwashing, and start thinking for themselves. What kind of person would ask Oprah Winfrey what book to read? Having been so incredibly rich and famous most of her life, she's so far out of touch with most of us; there's no way she could possibly be able to empathize with ANY of us, much less be able to tell us what to read! How could she possibly understand our problems, much less be able to choose a candidate for us?

It's the same with sports figures. Many consider them to be "heroes" - but they're not; they're athletes with special abilities. Heroes are those men and women who are sacrificing their lives so we can live free in America. Heroes are scientists that are working day and night to find cures for diseases. Heroes are those who give of themselves unselfishly that others may live fruitful lives.

Celebrities should be just that - people who got famous for one reason or another - not who tell us how to live our lives and especially not who to vote for! Americans need to break the spell of these marketing magicians by turning off and tuning out and reprioritizing their lives to include what really matters most: family, friends, home and love.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Purposeful Walks

Forrest Gump may have taken off across America "for no particular reason," but we all remember how his cross-country run inspired so many people along the way - interpreting his reasoning as they may.

Similarly, on May 26, 2008
Keela Carr began a 2,700-mile walk from Barstow, California to Arlington with a laptop computer and some clothes, her few remaining possessions. She sold her home, furniture and everything, to have enough money for the trip across the country. "I wanted to do something extremely personal," Miss Carr said after visiting injured veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Northwest. She stayed at hotels during the beginning of her walk, but said she began making connections with strangers who heard about her mission. Many of them took her into their homes and fed her. Miss Carr arrived at Walter Reed on Wednesday with her Aunt Rochelle Narain who was driving alongside Miss Carr when she collapsed just outside the military hospital. [more...]

In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi (age 61) set out on his famous "
Salt March" as an act of civil disobedience by defying the salt laws - 241 miles in 24 days. He was a shrewd politician with incredible marketing skills and made sure the worldwide media covered the event. Events at each village were scheduled and publicized in Indian and foreign press. Upon arriving at the seashore, Gandhi raised a lump of salty mud and declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." He then boiled it in seawater, producing illegal salt. Today the Salt March is acknowledged the world over as the one event that shook the British Empire to its core.

Kim Denmark of Dayton, Ohio walked across America with the goal of dramatizing the need for change as it relates to welfare reform, homelessness and poverty.

Since April 14th,
Will Buchanan and his wife have been walking coast-to-coast across the country, from Oregon to New Hampshire 'on a quest to gain more freedom for our country by spreading the message of freedom and liberty along the way.'

Stuart Hamilton and Dave Toolan crossed the U.S. on foot. Why? Why not? Just to leave things behind and head off in the direction of things they'd never seen before - to take in the scenery and experience and see new things. In 2006 they walked 2,000 miles from Delaware to Kansas City. In May 2007, they rejoined the American Discovery Trail in Kansas City and headed west to Point Reyes in California - a distance of over 3,000 miles.

Steve Vaught made the decision to walk across America to lose weight and regain control of his life. "I decided to attempt something so radical because somewhere along the line I’d lost control; I'd lost myself. In life, I transformed from a skinny boy, to a fit U.S. Marine and ended up an obese man, approaching middle age and it was obvious that I was no longer able to cope with the course my life had taken." He lost the weight and rediscovered his dignity and life purpose.

Walking is the "perfect exercise" and those who take their daily walks seriously and walk their dogs regularly reap the rewards of the wonderful benefits that result. It really allows you the time to clear your head and think straight.